Thursday, June 23, 2011

God Things

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."  Genesis 50:20

I wrote the following in January 2008 and think it is a such a reflection of how the above verse has manifested itself in my own life.  I pray you will see this truth in your life and the lives of those you love.

God Things
I gotta tell ya, one of my favorite things about being a Christian is having a "God Thing" happen. Oh, you have them just might not call them that. "God Things" are those times when we see with our little eyes God moving in such a huge way in our lives. It is experiencing His love, presence, or favor with every cell in our bodies. Have you ever listened to a sermon and felt like your pastor had snuck into your house while you were at work and read your journal? Have you ever been short on cash and had some show up out of "nowhere"? Have you received a phone call from a long lost friend who you were just thinking about? Helloooo...."God Things". Non-Christians have "God Things" too, but they call them luck, good fortune, or coincidence. I just love that feeling of the hair standing up on the back of my neck, or that tingly, goose-bumpy thing that happens when I experience a "God Thing".

I had a "God Thing" happen just the other night.

I have a MySpace page. My boss at the radio station where I worked last year made one for all the staff members. I have since left that job and was considering deleting my page a few months ago when I was really moved by God to turn it into a "His Space" page. I changed the format, added scripture, some cool Christian music, and a big banner that says "Jesus Loves You". There....a light in a dark place, right? I would swing by and check it every so often but had gotten busy and had kinda forgotten about it....until the other night. I had some extra time and was bored, so I checked it and found a message from a woman in my town who was being mentally and physically abused by her husband. Her name was Tess and she was "just looking for a friend to hang out with. I thought, Whoa...major "God Thing". Why? Because what this woman did not know about me (because only my closest friends and family know) is that I was a victim of Domestic Violence. This fact is not indicated on my MySpace page, but out of all the hundreds of thousand pages on MySpace she landed on mine and was moved to contact me. Coincidence or "God Thing"? You decide. 

Then I started thinking, Eliska, aren't ALL things "God Things"? Did I go through a terrible situation many years ago so I would know what to say to that woman on that night? 

I wasn't walking with Jesus at the point in my life while I was being abused, and because I should have never been in that particular relationship (because it was not Godly), I believe God's permissive will allowed those events to occur because I was going my way instead of His way. You see the Bible tells us God is sovereign. God knows and predestines future events, while at the same time making us responsible for our own choices. This is known as free will and believe me, God is not shocked at or challenged by our decisions.

Just because we can't see with our "little eyes" why we are in the midst of pain and struggle does that mean God doesn't have a plan? Do these things threaten His power? Just because we can't understand what God could possibly be thinking, does that mean we stop trusting that He is the one who has "Big Eyes"? Romans 8:28 states "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called by His purpose."
Our God reigns and He loves us so much and nothing can change that, whether we are in want or plenty, tragedy or triumph. Romans 8:35 asks, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?" Romans 8:38-39 adds, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither the present or the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth nor anything else will be able to separate us from the love of God that is Christ Jesus our Lord."

The next time you find yourself saying "God, why on earth would you allow this to be happening to me?" just remember that He is in control and that ALL things work together for His good, His plan and His purpose. You just never know what great thing He is grooming you to do.

In addition, if you are being abused mentally, emotionally or physically please contact the National Domestic Violence Hot line NOW at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). There are people there to help you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

May God bless you all. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Dear 16 year old me

So there is a video that is prevalent right now on Facebook called "Dear 16 Year Old Me...".  It is a sobering Canadian PSA for skin cancer awareness...what it might be like as an adult reflecting on the past.  Since I watched this I started thinking about what advice I would give (if I could) to myself 29 years ago in 1982...the summer of my 16th year...

Dear 16 Year Old Me,

There are a few things that I want to share with you that will help the quality of your life.  These are in no way presented in order of importance.  I know you think you have the world figured out and on a string, but the truth is you don't and you never will.  None of us get to and it really does work out so much better that way.  You are enrolled in Life University and you graduate the day you pass from this world into the next, so stay humble, keep your eyes and mind open every single second, and take good notes.

Rule #1. God is sovereign.  Rule #2. Everything in life changes except Rule #1.
Let's move on.

Dear 16 year old have had a rough start and some very bad things have forced you past the innocence of youth, but you are not damaged goods.  It is these very experiences that will add depth and richness to your character and you will soon learn that it is in those dark valleys where you will grow and discover what you're made of.  You are ultimately responsible for how things turn out regardless of what happened or didn't happen in your childhood.  Happiness is a choice.  It will serve you well if you take time every day to remember who you really are, and more importantly WHO'S you really are.  Never look to others to define your worth.  The only person that wont hurt, disappoint, or abandon you is God.  You should plan accordingly.

Dear 16 year old me...being pretty opens a lot of doors but it is never enough to keep you in the room once you get there, so always bring your best effort.  Know that youth and beauty are fleeting and these qualities along with wealth and status easily corrupt the human heart.  Speaking of hearts, you'll need to guard yours diligently and realize that there are very, very few people who are worthy of sharing it with.  The currency of love is trust and it can be lost in a moment and take a lifetime to build.   People are not inherently good and there is a fine line between knowing that and letting it make you bitter and jaded.  It is worth your time to find this middle ground.

Dear 16 year old me...growing older is inevitable, but growing up is a choice.  Not everyone grows up.  It is important to allow yourself to mature to the point that you can be relied on (by yourself and others), accept responsibilities for your actions (both good and bad), and realize that life is not all about you (in fact, it has very little to do with you).  Don't cheat.  Don't lie.  Don't manipulate.  These behaviors may get you what you want and where you want to be for a while, but they will eventually bankrupt you morally, emotionally and spiritually.

Dear 16 year old will almost always regret wearing prints, but you will never regret wearing solids. ;)

Dear 16 year old me...God will allow influence and fame to come your way.  They are very slippery slopes.  Be very careful to not become impressed with yourself.  The purpose of influence is to stand up for those that have no influence...whether that is an abused child or animal, the homeless, victims of violence, the elderly, or a forest.  Try to leave a situation better than you found it, and unless you are prepared to be part of the solution to a problem it is best that you avoid complaining until you are.

Dear 16 year old me...pass on Betamax and Laser Discs. ;)

Dear 16 year old are going to bury a lot of people you love.  Don't be alarmed because everyone does.  All death is here to teach us about life.  If given the choice, always choose to spend your time with family and friends over making money.  Pick people over possessions and prestige every time.  I promise you wont regret it.  There is nothing on this earth that can fill the hole in your soul that needs to give, and receive, genuine love.

Dear 16 year old me....the key to freedom is forgiveness, and forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.  Anger, resentment, and contempt look bad on anyone, and there is no quicker way to make your life miserable for yourself and those around you than holding on to past hurts.  You will make more mistakes than correct choices, but if you choose to gain knowledge from both you will win in the long run.

Dear 16 year old all goes by so quickly and you'll cry as much as you laugh.  If you ever doubt what life is all about go to an ocean or the mountains or to a hospital maternity ward and look quietly upon God's Creations until something stirs inside of you...God's own DNA within you...settles your mind and helps you know your place in this world.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Beth Moore: The Hair Brush

This is by far my single favorite Beth Moore story told in her typical, hilarious style! It highlights her beautiful obedience after struggling with God and the reward that is received when we say "Yes Lord".

Saturday, June 4, 2011

If grace is an ocean we're all sinking

He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realise just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us so,
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all

We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
So Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets, 
When I think about, the way…

He loves us

See David Crowder on K LOVE- "How He Loves" by clicking *HERE*



  [stahr]  Show IPA,noun, adjective, verb, starred, star·ring.
any of the heavenly bodies, except the moonappearing asfixed luminous points in the sky at night.
Astronomy any of the large, self-luminous, heavenly bodies,as the sunPolaris, etc.
any heavenly body.

In a world obsessed with celebrity and fame I have found freedom through deciding to perform for and delight an audience of One.  The amazing thing is I don't have to be anything or anyone different than who I really am at any given moment.  There are no lines to rehearse, no costumes, no "character" to play.  My audience adores me...applauds my littlest of efforts.  My audience calls me "Beloved". There is no worry of no longer being youthful enough, thin enough, popular enough, rich enough.  No, enough is truly enough.  I am no longer on society's treadmill, running and running and never, ever, moving forward.  There is no love to earn because it was always there and complete from the beginning.  It was a Gift and the question of being deserving was really never a question at all...I never could be, but I never have to be. I am a Star.

Here is a wonderful blog post written by my brother in Christ of 20 years, Robert Mauti. We are also both figure skaters and have coached...